This is my first wonky log cabin block. I have admired these in other places, but I hadn’t quite figured out how to do it myself so my friend Julie and I scheduled a wonky block get-together and I managed. I like the way it turned out and I’ve started the next one. This could be my next project.
In the meantime, I worked more on my other quilt and took some (hopefully) better photographs of it. I should have known better than to try to get a good picture in the house on the floor in bad light. This time I took it outside and used natural light. Like I said, I should have known better. This photo also gives you a better idea of the size of the quilt. It’s still little bitty.
I haven’t decided whether this is one long panel of a quilt with some long solid panels, too, or whether this is just a fraction of what will be a quilt that is all bits and pieces like this. Do you have an opinion?
Maybe I’ll figure out how to combine the bits and pieces and the wonky square??
My boys are into their second week of Campbell Boys Camp for Boys (or CB squared). Here are some shots of them.
I just finished Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett (my second time; we selected it for book group) and D and I are in the middle of The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas. N just finished Unwind by Neal Shusterman. He liked it and requested more. I’ve put holds on several of his others. G just finished The Ancient by R.A. Salvatore. Soon it will be time for the official summer reading.
Here’s the beginning of my latest quilt project. I’m not sure what I’m doing, but I wanted it to be random and organic. I chose all shades of brown, black, and white. As I go, I’ll be adding some purple, gold, and blue. Some of the people in my life may understand the significance. We’ll see how this goes. It was so much fun to spend a few hours in the sewing room this week.
In the meantime, I have been doing lots of reading. Some is research: A Class of Their Own: Black Teachers in the Segregated South by Adam Fairclough. Some is for fun: SUM: Forty Tales of the Afterlife by David Eagleman. Some is for the boys: Max Quigley, Technically Not a Bully by James Roy and The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas.
I tweaked the settings a little on this one to make the edges blurrier. I love the contrasting colors in the leaves and flowers. I’m not sure you can see the water drop on the edge of one of the pink flowers in the bottom right third of the photograph. I was trying to get that when I took the original. This one might be too blurry.
I didn’t pick this photograph out initially, but on this latest run-through, the orange leaf really stuck out. I thought it might be interesting to use here because of the contrast. What do you think? With the edges more cleanly defined, it looks less like a “painted” image.
In the last post, I showed a “painted” purple flower that I created in photoshop. This is the orginal photograph.
I learned yesterday that my application to join the Mississippi Arts Commission‘s artist roster as a visual artist was approved. Last year at this time I joined the roster as a literary artist, but because I offer both writing and photography presentations to schools, I decided to apply as a photographer also. This way schools and organizations may use MAC grant funds to pay for up to half of my presentation fee. I had to pass muster with a professional panel on each art form individually. I felt and still feel that a picture book creator should be allowed to submit words and pictures together. I believe that mastery in my art form includes mastery of the way images and text work together.
That being said, I am now on the roster in both categories so schools and organizations will have access to grant funds whether they choose to hire me to present and teach on writing or photography. The next application date for mini-grants this year is Nov. 2, 2009. I appreciate the work the commission and its staff do to support artists and arts instruction in schools.
This photo of river otters appeared in the Look at the … feature of the July issue of Highlights High Five magazine. You can find this feature inside the back cover of the magazine. Richard and I have three more images in upcoming issues.
One of my goals this year is to learn more about photoshop. I followed a tutorial to create art images from three photographs I took last year. I like the bottom one best. What do you think?
Here is one of the busier pages of the Growing Patterns manuscript. My editor and I are trying to solve a problem. As part of my school and library visit program, I share the close-to-final mansucript for Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator. I want students to see that the process of writing (and re-writing) keeps on going right up until the book is printed. I took a picture of this page to let you see our notes back and forth in the Word tracking feature. In this latest back-and-forth between Andy and me, he’s asked for some more photographs. In the book, Richard and I use close-up macro photographs and Andy wants to include some photographs that show the entire objects, too. I’ve sent him some options.
We’re also trying to make sure that readers understand that a particular set of photographs is actually three copies of the same image. We’ve done some digital manipulation to highlight a pattern. Some people who have looked at the dummy have thought the three images were of three different examples of the same object. I think we’re getting close to a solution. One of the things that is helping during this revision is that I am still doing school and library visits with Wolfsnail so I have been reading drafts of Growing Patterns to the kids I meet. I get such good feedback by watching their faces and hearing their questions.
Richard and I got a nice (and unexpected) mention today on a blog I read regularly, I.N.K.: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. Here is one section of an exchange between author Loreen Leedy and her contact at Holiday House, discussing today’s market for nonfiction in children’s publishing.
“What innovations in presenting nonfiction have been significant in recent years? (Photos vs. illustration, length of book, graphic design, etc.)
Technical advances have been changing nonfiction for some time, particularly in the area of illustration and graphic design. From pop-ups like Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart to new manufacturing techniques that allow the use of “scanimation” in Gallop! by Rufus Butler Seder to ever more amazing techniques in taking photographs and reproducing them such as in Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator by Sarah and Richard Campbell, nonfiction is constantly becoming more sophisticated, more innovative, and more novel.”
Wolfsnail Update: Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator is showing up on all kinds of summer reading lists — including the Chicago Public Schools‘ list for grades 3-4. Wolfsnail was also featured on a podcast produced by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center. Here’s this year’s podcast archive. Click to hear Episode 48. The Wolfsnail booktalk begins about 7 minutes in and lasts about 2 minutes.
Gardening Update: I picked my first cucumber today! I absolutely love cucumbers. It was delicious and there are at least a dozen more on the vine. I didn’t have time to take a photo. I gobbled the cucumber up in a lunchtime salad. I also picked three zucchini and a handful of beans and snap peas. It is so very hot out there (97 degrees today) that I don’t know how the plants can stand it. They’re drinking lots of water. I hope the tomatoes ripen soon.
I had a great time this morning with the Summer Reading kids in Port Gibson at the Harriet Person Memorial Library. We had a large group with a big age-range and lots of wide eyes as I talked about the wolfsnail. There were some in the audience who heard me last summer when I visited A.W. Watson Elementary School. The kids had fabulous questions — including ones about how books are put together. In this photo, I am telling them that the end papers are glued to the book’s cover. This photo was taken with my new point-and-shoot. Helen McComb took it for me. She was very helpful with all of my equipment.
There were definitely challenges in the photography department. There was a lot of natural light — from a skylight. This led the camera to believe there was enough light that it didn’t need the flash. You can see what the bright sunlight did to this photo.
Helen knew how to override the flash so she did that for this photo. When Deborah Peterkin, the assistant librarian, said the librarians were going to place names of summer readers into a box and pull a winner’s name for prizes, I decided to donate a book. If you’ll remember from yesterday, I had planned on shooting video, too, with my new Sony webbie HD. However, it malfunctioned. It did OK in the short test I shot before the kids started coming in, but went to sleep while we were waiting to begin. When Helen tried to wake it up to get it going, it wouldn’t shoot — displaying a formatting error. I was able to reformat the memory stick when I got back home, but I was not happy about the malfunction. I’ll try to use it again soon.
Does this look like a kid who several hours later would wake up with a bad earache? Poor guy. He’s got a touch of swimmer’s ear and a touch of something else in his throat and sinuses. He’s bummed because he can’t go to the pool for a few days — and it’s 97 degrees outside — but we found out our pool is going to be closed anyway for a much-needed cleaning. C’est la vie!
This is a strange photo, I’ll grant you. Richard took it using our new point-and-shoot camera. N is trying to trim the end of a wire on his braces. He didn’t succeed, but he also didn’t cut out a chunk of his cheek, which is what I was afraid of. I bought a Nikon CoolPix S560. Oftentimes, when I go places to speak and I try to hand over my camera, people are reluctant to take it. I feel like my Nikon D70 is pretty easy to use, but people are more familiar with point-and-shoot cameras.
The other reason I got it is because it is so much smaller to carry around. Most of the time I am on my own for school/library visits and I am usually carrying a netbook, a projector, extra copies of my book, bookmarks, a camera, a purse, and a water bottle. I have two rolling suitcases that I use for the heavy stuff, but I was always having to tote the camera bag. Now, I’ll just slot this into a pocket. Alright.
The other little gadget I got was a Sony Webbie. One of my goals for next year is to join the Mississippi Arts Commission‘s roster of teaching artists. I am currently on the roster of artists. In order to join the ranks of the teaching artists I must present the commission with video of me teaching children and adults. I borrowed cameras during two of my school visits this year and I got good video, but the MAC application calls for video of a specific lesson plan. I think my new camera will be just the ticket.
I’ve been considering these purchases for some time now. I decided to go ahead and get the cameras this weekend because I have a library visit tomorrow. I’ll be taking my cameras along and I’ll post some images when I get back. I’ll be at the Harriet Person Memorial Library in Port Gibson — where I grew up.
I’ve been trying to clear off my various desks. I have one in the kitchen that is a catch-all for mail, receipts, my purse, cell phone, etc. and one in the basement that is my working desk with my computer, files, shelves, etc. Both had gotten out of control — stacked with months worth of stuff. Several times in the last few months, I have gotten close to clearing things out and off, but there were still piles that I never quite cleared. I have finally come to the realization that in order to clear off the desk(s), I need to make room in my filing cabinets for more files. I decided to clear the drawer with all my manuscripts to make room for my newer work files.
I have been generating new categories of work files in the year since Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator was published. Now I have materials from conference talks, clippings and notes that deal with marketing, royalty statements (yea!), lesson plans, etc. The manuscripts that I cleared from the drawer date back to my first writing for children in 2002 — among them are “Growing Salad,” “Bridget is Here for Lunch Today,” “Ladder to the Sky,” “Martin’s Toy Soldiers,” Hello, Bockibooshina!” and “How the Princess Got Her Name.” Many were submitted, some multiple times. I got a few encouraging comments, but — looking back — I can see the problems with them. Now, I think of them as my apprenticeship stories. These are the ones I learned on. Without them, I wouldn’t have gotten to the stories that I could sell.
Mixed in with the manuscripts are the homemade books that I put together for or with my children and my children’s classmates: “Little Red Hens in Room 1 Bake Bread,” “Lumpy Socks,” and “Nathan’s Book about Tree Cutting.” I think the process of bookmaking is just as important as the process of writing. It, more than anything else, gives you a sense of the pacing of a picture book.
The images scattered through the posts are scans of the “books.” You may be able to understand my clutter problem now that you see the things that I’ve saved. Of course, I’m so glad I did.
This is my second picking of string beans. The first harvest was slightly smaller. (We planted eight plants.) I picked some today that were a little small because I want to promote more growth. We steamed the few we got yesterday with some purple string beans (an heirloom variety) I bought from the Farmer’s Market. Yummy! From our garden so far, we’ve had lettuce, spinach, green beans, and a few snap peas I ate straight off the vine. We’ve been eating really well from the Farmer’s Market — fresh limas, new potatoes, cilantro, eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes, blackberries, and fresh eggs. I even tried Kohrabi and Swiss Chard. I liked them both, but they weren’t big hits with the family.
Besides yardwork, the other big job the boys have this summer is tackling some painting jobs. Richard got them all started on Sunday scraping paint from the wood siding on the front of the house. They’ll be scraping and cleaning all week, ready for caulking and priming on the weekend. Needless to say this is not a popular job around here, but somebody’s got to do it and three people in particular have a lot of time on their hands. The front of the house looks very strange without the shutters.
I have the Growing Patterns manuscript back with the changes from copy editing. I’m going through them carefully and doing re-writes where appropriate. It’s exciting to be working on the book again. I am also making final arrangements for next month’s trip to Chicago for the American Library Association conference.